Just because you own a property, commercial or residential, that’s producing an income for you doesn’t mean you should want to or even have to call yourself a landlord. It’s likely that no one will ever be as invested in that income as you, but it can almost not feel worth it if you also have the hassle of collecting rent, maintaining the property, or even approving tenants. Your time is money, and even one tenant, who either calls or is called on constantly, can become a personal, professional, and financial nightmare.
To combat this possibility, finding the perfect property manager is just as important as finding ideal tenants. You’d never take in a tenant without checking their background, their references, and their rental history. All three of these steps remain crucial in your search for a great property manager. Your ideal property manager or management company should be able to save you money by dealing with details themselves, and they should come highly trained to handle your business and maximize your profits. Here are some questions you should be asking yourself and your future property managers.
Do they have a good track record?
An easy first step should be to ask for referrals and then call them. Professional property managers should have an ongoing and past client list, and it’s a good sign if they’re happy to share it. Next, find out how many units they’re currently managing and how many they feel like they can manage. A seasoned manager should be able to take on between 30 to 40 units, so it’d be ideal that (1) they’ve managed that number before and (2) the addition of your units would put them somewhere in that range. Another important aspect of their history is what exact types of units they’ve managed before; a portfolio can be very concentrated in one area or sectors. If you find they specialize in high rise apartments, for example, and you have a downtown bungalow or lakefront property in Marble Falls, then you might want to look for a manager that has experience with your property.
It will benefit you to find someone that specializes in your area or location. You should take the time to look at properties that are already under their care. Also, if you can, go to their offices. You don’t want any surprises. If you are sending a potential renter to their offices, you should know what they are seeing. Is it a mess? Is it staffed and does it reflect what is important to you?
What do their marketing efforts look like?
The money that is spent on advertising can say a lot about a property manager. They should have the resources to keep the average amount of time it takes to find new tenants to a minimum. Find out in advance how they do their target research and whether they’ll bring these strategies to fill your property. Make sure that their methods of finding tenants are agreeable and to your standards, especially if they’re not flexible on these methods.
Do they own rental properties themselves?
In many cases, it’s actually better that they don’t. It may be a sign to you that they are successful property owners themselves, but it’s probably far more likely that they’re your direct competition. You should find someone whose focus will be on you and your properties. If you both have vacancies at the same time, they might fill their rentals with what they determine to be the best tenants.
Will they address all maintenance issues?
Will they really do a drive-by if the tenant calls with an issue on a Friday afternoon, when the traffic is getting heavy? Drive-bys should be part of their routine, not an extra service, so it’s important they follow through. A plan should be in place to have each trip documented, especially if you are out of town. They should be allowed to resolve issues up to a certain dollar amount, defined in advance in your contract. You need to know how emergencies will be handled if they can’t reach you. You’ll need a contract that will give you guidance on these kinds of issues and protects you. It’s important to talk about other emergencies that they have handled in the past with other clients and what they did to resolve the problem.
When will your renter’s check be deposited into your account?
You need to have a firm date set in place that falls on the first of each month. If the money isn’t in your account by that date, they need to be sure to communicate with you. It is critical that your money is handled with extreme care. Talk to them about what software they need and how your reports should be delivered. You should know about extra fees in advance, as there is usually a surcharge if they have to go beyond what the contract covers. With the right property manager who communicates with you and with your renters, you should be confident that your money and your property is in the right hands.
Safeguarding your assets and increasing revenue from your rentals is easier with Domain Reality. We are passionate about property management in Austin and the surrounding areas. Our services are designed to help you manage cash flow, make sure that your properties are being maintained, find the perfect renters or leaseholders, handle issues when and if they occur, and report to you every month so that you can rest easy. For more information regarding property management, call us today at (512) 872-4211